Are you ready kids???
Who lives in a pineapple under the sea? SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS!!!
Absorbent and yellow and porous is he. SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS!!!
5 weeks ago my friend Arielle stepped onto a treadmill and pushed herself to the limit. Her goal was to set the Guinness World Records for fastest 50km and 100km ever run on a treadmill by a female. I made up a playlist for Arielle to run to and asked for song suggestions on Facebook. Spongebob Squarepants was one of the nominees (thanks Leo) and now I will never get that song out of my head.
During my summer solstice run I turned on my music when I needed a boost. Spongebob came on and suddenly I was grinning from ear to ear. I remembered Arielle’s tenacity as she battled through hours of stomach cramps and pain. I also remembered the massive smile when she finally achieved her goal. This is now the most inspiring song on my playlist and it will be my (not so) secret weapon at Sinister 7.
I’ll be the first to admit that I am afraid of failure. I am afraid to set big goals. I am afraid to push my effort beyond the easy training pace which I have become comfortable with during countless hours on the trails. This year I have been tentatively pushing back the edges of my comfort zone. I am curious about what my body can do, but terrified of ending up injured or too fatigued to continue the lifestyle that I love. I set some crazy goals to incentivize me beyond my comfort zone. I keep pushing my body a little further and it responds every time. This has given me confidence that I am capable of more than I give myself credit for. I’ve discovered that my legs can continue to run at a half decent pace even after thousands of metres of climbing, many hours, and back to back days on the trails. My joints have cooperated and my muscles have been strong.
My biggest obstacle when running ultras over the last few years has been my stomach. I found a temporary fix to the problem by just not eating. This works to a certain extent, but it is a recipe for failure when you are trying to run for 12hrs+. I feel like my body became a fat burning machine while I practiced this starvation technique, and it completely forgot how to burn carbs (aka sugar). Carbs are the fuel we burn when we move at higher intensities, so if I want to run fast I need to learn to burn them. All those photos you see of me with my Sour Dinos, #summitOreos and Mars bars are not just for fun. I am training my stomach to digest on the move; so far (knock on wood) it seems to be working. The real test will come on Saturday. I’m in the middle of a puke-free year and I’d like to keep it that way.
My plan at Sinister is to go for broke. So far in my racing career I’ve been gently pushing my self-imposed limits, but on July 9th I plan to run right through them. I’ve never entered a race with this attitude before and it terrifies me. There’s a good chance that I will push too hard and simply crash and burn. I may be reduced to a hobble for the last 100km, but the silver-lining is that I’ve hobbled for 100km before. I know that I can do it again. When the suffering starts I will embrace it, turn on Spongebob, and know that I can suffer with the best of them.
I thought about keeping my goals for Sinister 7 private, but I love reading about other people’s goals so I’ve decided to share mine.
1) Finish. I’m competing in the Skyrunning Ultra Series. As long as I finish in the top 40 I will earn points, so there is plenty of incentive to do everything I can to get to that finish line.
2) Improve on last year’s time (23:44). Conditions last year were not fast, and I had a far from perfect race. In theory, this goal is very achievable.
3) See the sunset on top of the pass on Leg 6. It may sound ridiculous, but this is the real carrot I’ll be chasing next weekend. This goal is on the edge of my ability (maybe beyond my ability) and it really excites me. This would put me at a 20hr finishing pace, which would be a massive PR and would result in a very good day even if I walked it in from the pass.
4) Sub-20hr. If the stars align … How cool would that be?
Regardless of how Saturday works out I am extremely thankful for the year I’ve had so far. My mountain running lifestyle would not be possible without the love and support of my husband Matt. Thanks for understanding my need to spend countless hours in the wilderness every week and for taking care of me when I come back completely destroyed. I am truly lucky and thankful to have you as my partner-in-crime.
I am also grateful to Rockgear Distribution for setting me up with my shoes (Icebug Animas), packs (UltrAspire), and socks (Swiftwick). This is the gear that has carried me over dozens of mountain summits, and hundreds of kilometres of trail. All of it completely blister and chafe free. I even have all my toenails 🙂
Race starts at 7am on Saturday, July 9th. Follow along for live updates at www.sinister7.com